We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

'Peacekeepers' and 'machine factories' : tracing Graduate Teaching Assistant subjectivity in a neoliberalised university.

Raaper, R. (2018) ''Peacekeepers' and 'machine factories' : tracing Graduate Teaching Assistant subjectivity in a neoliberalised university.', British journal of sociology of education., 39 (4). pp. 421-435.


Guided by a Foucauldian theorisation, this article explores Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) experiences of their work and subjectivity in a neoliberalised higher education environment. By drawing on a research project with GTAs from one UK university, the article argues that GTA work is increasingly shaped by neoliberal reforms. The GTAs interviewed are critical of internationalisation, marketisation and client culture, and see these processes as acting on their subjectivity. The GTAs position themselves as mediators between demanding students and overworked academics: they have turned into much-needed ‘peacekeepers’ and ‘machine factories’. The findings also demonstrate that the subjectivity enforced by a dominant market ideology is further negotiated in the GTA experience. The discourses reveal that a lack of institutional control and coordination of graduate teaching provides the means for, and indeed enables, the GTAs to express some, but often limited, discontent with neoliberalism.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British journal of sociology of education on 04/09/2017 available online:
Date accepted:30 August 2017
Date deposited:12 September 2017
Date of first online publication:04 September 2017
Date first made open access:04 March 2019

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar